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Zot!: The Complete Black-and-White Collection: 1987-1991

(Zot! #complete b&w; issues 11-36)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,461 ratings  ·  149 reviews
From comics pioneer Scott McCloud, the complete black and white collection of Zot!, featuring never-before-seen artwork and extensive commentary by the author

Long before manga took the American comics market by storm, Scott McCloud (Understanding ComicsMaking Comics) combined the best ideas from manga, alternative comics, and superheroes into Zot!—a frenetic and innovati
Paperback, 575 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by It Books
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  1,461 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Zot!: The Complete Black-and-White Collection: 1987-1991 collects issues 11-36 of Zot!, the black and white issues.

Back in the day, my first exposure to Zot! was issues 30 & 31, two of the Earth stories about Jenny and her friends. Since the scars of adolescence were still fairly fresh, I was enthralled. As fate should have it, Scott McCloud published a book of the black and white issues of Zot!, of which the Earth stories were a part of.

The book starts off in the vein of the last book, albeit i
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Before Understanding Comics , writer/artist Scott McCloud created the adventures of Zachary T. Paleozogr (aka Zot), a teenager from an alternate Utopian Earth in the "far-flung future of 1965." Zot discovers a portal to our consensus 1980s reality and explores our not-so-perfect existence. He befriends the teen Jenny Weaver and their adventures in both universes serve as the centerpiece for these delightful stories. Initially, the tales primarily revolve around Zot, who is a super-hero in his ...more
Peter Looles
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-comics
I really can't capture the whole essence of "Zot", but I really want to talk about it. "Zot" is my favorite superhero comic and one of my favorite comics in general. "Zot" is about understanding what superheros really are, it's about getting to know yourself, it's about finding your sexuality, it's about relationships, it's about family, it's about friendship, it's about big ideas, it's  about ideals and staying true to them. The characters in this book deal with relationship problems, deal with ...more
Jason Pettus
Feb 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: postmodernism, ya, comics
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Long before Scott McCloud became the guru of comics deconstruction with his wildly popular trilogy of nonfiction titles on the subject (1993's Understanding Comics, 2000's Reinventing Comics and 2006's Making Comics), he was the author of the late-'80s underground hit Zot!, an important transitional title
Stephen Theaker
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The modern Superman comes in for quite a bit of criticism for being a bit of a metrosexual wimp, but the Superman of the 1950s was as much a product of his time, with his gratingly patriarchal attitude.

Zot, on the other hand, is like a Superman out of time, free of the need to appear in twenty comic books a month or to maintain a status quo. He's happy, comfortable with his powers, accepting of the things he can't change, determined to change the things he can. He has no hang-ups, but is underst
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, manga
I was ready to give this book a bad review, reviling Scott McCloud for ever doing anything but smart analyses of the comics medium like in Understanding Comics. Then, I got to the last third of this graphic novel. The first two thirds of Zot consist of McCloud finding himself as a writer and unfortunately that means many of the stories are nonsensical villains of the week combined with overwrought humor. Zot himself is pretty boring and the characters around him are meaningless.

Then, two thirds
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it

Just got it, by the author of Understanding Comics. Wow, that's a lot of comics for 20 bucks. Black and white though.

All done. It was uneven in the beginning, but I felt my interest escalate as everything improved working my way to the end. The "director's commentary" every few chapters helped me appreciate it. I wasn't a big fan of the cheesy supervillians except for Dekker, who sees the world in what looks like modern art. Manga influenced, but the author doesn't go overboard on silent panels
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
It's like reading stories you wrote in high school, slightly uncomfortable, juvenilia for sure, but every so often shot through with moments of beauty that show you knew more than you thought you did, even though you thought you knew everything and really knew nothing at all. ...more
Tom Ackerman
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this 550 page graphic novel used from my fav comic shop. Maybe the best five bucks I ever spent! Zot is a treasure. A deconstruction of the superhero genre that is as hopeful as Watchmen is bleak. The commentary from Scott McCloud after each issue is always humble and thoughtful and sometimes emotional. It adds a ton to this collection. If you like comics at all, definitely check out Zot.
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Stranded time travelers and those who feel that way...
I suspect this isn't the most frequent word people use for Scott McCloud's work, but I keep coming back to thinking of Zot! as... charming. I was absolutely and undeniably charmed by the wistful, worldly Jenny and her friends on our Earth, and by her cheerful, clueless superhero boyfriend Zot (Zachary T. Paleozogt) and his Earth.

McCloud's clean black-and-white drawings, openly influenced by manga style (before that sort of thing became ubiquitous), seamlessly evoke the shining towers and soaring
Dani Shuping
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
You may only be familiar with Scott McCloud's work for his critically acclaimed, Understanding Comics, and if that's all you know him for you're really missing out. Zot is a fantastic comic series and one that I wish I had read sooner.

Zot is a teenage superhero from an alternate Earth, where laser guns and transformation guns are everyday, and the world has evolved to a more idealistic place. Zot comes to our world where he meets Jenny, an everyday teenage girl who just wants to escape from our
This book offers a good object lesson in the possibilities and the limits associated with the comics boom of the 1980s/1990s. On the one hand, McCloud's ambition becomes increasingly clear as the series progresses and he tries to move away from the superhero tropes that initially defined it. Even early on, within those tropes, he is trying to shake things up a bit, especially in his depiction of some of the villains, who don't seem so much villains as expressions of philosophical points of view. ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book was unexpectedly loaned to me by a friend who works in the same shopping center that I do. I've read Understanding Comics and its sequels, and was only sort of vaguely aware that Scott McCloud had done an actual comic series before writing them.

This wasn't really my thing, but I think it was largely a product of the time it came out of. There was a 'very special episode' quality to some of the more serious stories (a fact that McCloud acknowledges in his commentary), and the less serio
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
What an interesting look at the first work of the man who showed many of us what comics could be. Sometimes overwrought and melodramatic, it was overall pretty great.
Alex Sarll
The comic before Understanding Comics, and it's wobbly in all sorts of ways - McCloud will sometimes find his theme and his world-building at odds, the characterisation which makes sense to him isn't always conveyed to us, and he freely admits that some of the plotting is hokey. On top of which, it's a late eighties/early nineties superhero comic, albeit a black and white indie one with strong manga influences, so it was always bound to feel dated in places. But there's still a sense running thr ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Among the small handful of books I've taken from the library that I wouldn't mind owning, there is Zot! Jenny comes from our world, a confused teen with divorcing parents, an indifferent older brother and not many friends. Zot is a ray gun-firing, rocket boot-wearing superhero from a similar world, where apparently all the messy, confusing parts don't exist. The first half of the book goes back and forth between the two universes, mixing sci-fi action with off-beat humorous issues, all the while ...more
Michael Kitchen
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The rise of independent comic book publishers in the 1980's brought forth many engaging characters and stories from deep well of talented writers and artists. I remember when Eclipse Comics introduced Scott McCloud's "Zot!" The first ten issues were in color, then the comic went to black-and-white. It is quite possible (my memory a bit sketchy as this was over three decades ago) that I stopped picking up the book when it went to b&w.

I enjoyed this collection of the black-and-white issues. Not o
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genre-fiction
This is an incredibly big, heavy book - actually reading it was something of a challenge - but well worth it. McCloud writes mini-essays at the end of each story-arc (of which there are many), which add another level of fun in themselves.

He explains that he was actively trying to push against classic superhero tales of good vs evil with plot machinations, and indeed he succeeds in that admirably. It's kind of sad that this hasn't been copied more - a lot of his themes remain under-explored, as d
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Earned the fourth star towards the end when the high school stories got stronger. Even though Zot doesn't really change or grow over time, our understanding of him evolves as he faces different aspects of the two worlds. Zot is written as a shallow, always upbeat, character, but his resolve and unusual personal ethics made him interesting to me. I liked Woody, the treatment of the nerd issues he brought in and his comics geek friends. I thought having the George character, who was intelligent en ...more
Daniel Enrique
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This book have a good History and in the part that the story is fun and interesting is the beginning, but after you enter into the second volume the story is not in the same moment that you leave in the first volume, the story have a ton of gaps in it, and is also repetitive, always the same trama, but adapted to the situation. I don't recommend this book. ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-read
The first 15 issues or so add up to a good 1980s superhero comic. The final 10 issues are a great 1980s independent comic. At times it can be a little more optimistic and hopeful in it's overall outlook but it's still a damn fine comic. ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Scott has done it again with being a fantastic writer and artist, the man is on fire in my opinion.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A futuristic and present-day Earth meet. High school, superheroes and villains, love and first commitments, near death experiences...this collection has a little bit of everything.
Kelly K
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, graphic-novels
2.5 stars
This was on the meh side. The characters were pretty flat except for Woody who is precious.
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Amazing that this was drawn in black in white, no grayscale. The added narrative between issues was my favorite part. Very interesting to see the growth of the author over the span of the comic.
Davide Genco
Jan 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
“Superheroes stories” first part: 2/3 stars. “Earth stories” second part: 4/5 stars.
Philip Shade
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm currently reading "Before Watchmen: Ozymandias" which is a mass market, computer coloured, slick paper, trade paperback, written by Len Wein and lavishly illustrated Jim Lee; and compared to Scott McCloud's plain paper, black and white, cross hatched "Zot!" is complete trash.

"Zot!" is the coming of age story for a super hero from a parallel Earth. The first half of the collection focuses on his crime fighting on the the alternate Earth. These are interesting tales, and a different take and c
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Zot!: The Complete Black-and-White Collection: 1987-1991 is a bit of an odd beast. There are two distinct portions of the collection. The first 18 issues comprise the "Heroes and Villains" section, while the final 9 issues are titled "The Earth Stories." The two sections almost have to be reviewed separately.

"Heroes and Villains" is made up of Japanese manga flavored superhero stories. Each story is 2-3 issues long and involves the titular hero battling a new villain. All the villains appear to
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Having read Scott McCloud's later treaties on comics and their form & function I snatched up this collection of his earlier superhero comics when I saw it on the shelf at the library.

The book is divided up into two parts: Heroes & Villians, and The Earth Stories. For me, Part Two was far superior to Part One.

As Mr. McCloud would say: "comics are a medium not a genre"; and I think in Part One he was still figuring that out. As these are "The Black and White Collection" we're missing out on the f
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Scott McCloud (born Scott McLeod) is an American cartoonist and theorist on comics as a distinct literary and artistic medium.

Other books in the series

Zot! (7 books)
  • The Original Zot! Book 1
  • Zot! Book 1
  • Zot! Book 2
  • Zot! Book 3
  • Zot! (Zot! #1)
  • Zot! (Zot! #2)

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